Rep. John Taylor’s Seniors Expo: still going strong after 23 years

Over 400 loc­als vis­ited Rep. Taylor's an­nu­al seni­or expo last week for med­ic­al in­form­a­tion, leg­al ad­vice and more. Long­time or­gan­izer Nat­alie Dillon, who is re­tir­ing, was also cel­eb­rated.

Seni­ors re­ceived free blood-pres­sure tests, mas­sages and in­form­a­tion about everything from in­sur­ance to med­ic­al tech­no­lo­gies at state Rep. John Taylor’s an­nu­al Seni­ors Expo on Fri­day in Port Rich­mond.

Seni­ors and young­er cit­izens alike were lined up out the door of the Co­hox Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, Ce­dar and Cam­bria streets, on Fri­day morn­ing when the expo opened. More than 400 res­id­ents vis­ited the expo, now in its 23rd year.

“The most re­mark­able thing is how sim­il­ar it is,” Taylor (R-177th dist.) said about changes to the expo over the years. “I see the same people come here year after year.”

Taylor said  seni­ors come to this an­nu­al com­munity event look­ing for re­sources, in­form­a­tion and help an­swer­ing their ques­tions on med­ic­al is­sues to every­day qual­ity of life con­cerns.

“They ask about co-pays, ex­traneous bills they don’t un­der­stand, or maybe just about the trash get­ting picked up,” Taylor said.

Among the people at the fair was George Matwiejczyk, a board mem­ber of the Ac­quired Brain In­jury Net­work of Pennsylvania, who told vis­it­ors about his ex­per­i­ences at Moss Re­hab. Matwiejczyk, 49, who uses a wheel­chair, suffered a stroke when he was 36, and has been through a long re­hab­il­it­a­tion pro­cess.

“They taught me to learn on my own, how to play sports, deal with kids, and get help for my­self,” Matwiejczyk said of Moss Re­hab’s staffers.

The Ladies of Port Rich­mond also had a table at Taylor’s expo, and were in­vit­ing at­tendees to come to their breast can­cer-aware­ness event at Naz­areth Hos­pit­al on Oct. 30.

This year’s expo was a spe­cial one be­cause it marked the de­par­ture of Nat­alie Dillon, 61, an aide to Taylor who has helped or­gan­ize all of the past seni­or ex­pos. She was honored with a cita­tion and a bou­quet of roses from Taylor on Fri­day morn­ing.

She said that since the expo began, the num­ber of or­gan­iz­a­tions at the event has more than tripled, from 20 to 62 tables.

“We try to in­cor­por­ate all the agen­cies that deal with seni­or is­sues. In­sur­ance com­pan­ies, med­ic­al com­pan­ies, feet doc­tors – every­body comes here,” Dillon said.

Port Rich­mond Phar­macy staffers were of­fer­ing free blood-pres­sure tests and giv­ing seni­ors prin­touts of their res­ults. Flavia Masino, the phar­macy’s dir­ect­or of mar­ket­ing and edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams, said staffers also were spread­ing aware­ness about their Nov. 3 flu shot clin­ic and an­swer­ing ques­tions about the shingles vac­cine.

Rose­mary Walk­er, 73, of Port Rich­mond, said she spoke with an agent from Key­stone In­sur­ance about “Sil­ver Sneak­ers” – a pro­gram that al­lows her to go to par­ti­cip­at­ing gyms for free.

“I do like to ex­er­cise. I’ve been slack­ing off a little bit, so I’m try­ing to get back in­to it,” Walk­er said.

Tables at the expo also were oc­cu­pied by Naz­areth Hos­pit­al, the Phil­adelphia Cor­por­a­tion for Aging, the Ein­stein Med­ic­al Cen­ter, the Phil­adelphia D.A.’s Of­fice, May­or Nut­ter’s of­fice, SEPTA and the So­cial Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion as well as the Phil­adelphia Wa­ter De­part­ment and Phil­adelphia Gas Works.

Re­port­er Sam Ne­w­house can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at sne­w­

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